Christian Anarchism or Christian "Anarcho-capitalism" is not a
society without order. It is a society ordered from the bottom up rather than
the top down. Among the most important sources of social order are
Associations and the Priesthood of All Believers
An important book is Marvin Olasky, The Tragedy of American Compassion.
He details how early America was dominated by voluntary associations and
"societies," such as "The Salem Society for the Moral and Religious
Instruction of the Poor."
At the Trough," by Roger Schultz, review of Olasky
"Compassionate Conservatism" - Olasky
I have already posted excerpts from Cremin's
authoritative history of education, which discusses the tremendous
influence upon education these societies had. There were many, many
such societies, and they met an urgent need.
Rushdoony provides the following
insights into DeTocqueville's day:
At [this] time, the United States was facing potentially revolutionary
changes. The great influx of immigrants was beginning; people were
pouring into the country who had little or no knowledge of its faith or
heritage. They were simply seeking escape from tyranny and poverty
and a better life for themselves.
R.J. Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity, pp. 216ff.
In an important footnote, [Alexis de Tocqueville] saw the grim problem of
the urban slums and their alien and criminal elements, declaring:
Unwed pregnant girls were often disposed of in Europe by buying them
a one-way ticket to America, for them there to seek their ostensible level,
usually prostitution. "Black sheep" sons were also sent off to the United
States, or ran off to it. . . .
The United States have no metropolis; but they already contain
several very large cities. Philadelphia reckoned 161,000
inhabitants and New York 202,000 in the year 1830. The lower
orders which inhabit these cities constitute a rubble even more
formidable than the populace of European towns. They consist
of freed blacks in the first place, who are condemned by the
laws and by public opinion, to an hereditary state of misery
and degradation. They also contain a multitude of Europeans
who have been driven to the shores of the New World by their
misfortunes or their misconduct; and these men inoculate the
United States with all our vices, without bringing with them any
of those interests which counteract their baneful influence. As
inhabitants of a country where they have no civil rights, they are
ready to turn all the passions which agitate the community to
their own advantage; thus, within the last few months serious
riots have broken out in Philadelphia and in New York. Disturbances
of this kind are unknown in the rest of the country, which is
nowise alarmed by them, because the population of the cities
has hitherto exercised neither power nor influence over the rural
Nevertheless, I look upon the size of certain American cities,
and especially on the nature of their population, as a real danger
which threatens the future security of the democratic republics
of the New World; and I venture to predict that they will perish
from this circumstance, unless the government succeed in creating
an armed force, which, while it remains under the control of the
majority of the nation, will be independent of the town population,
and able to repress its excesses.
(Democracy in America, I:316f., Langley ed.)
The reaction of some conservatives was political and repressive. . . .
Tocqueville felt that that United States would surely "perish" under this
invasion 'unless the government succeed in creating an armed force . . .
independent of the town population' and able to control it. . . .
Hostility toward foreigners led to the creation of various "native
movements and political bodies. These organizations fed on hatred for
outsiders and stimulated it by highly emotional charges and claims.
More than a little violence was unleashed against various immigrant groups.
These organizations not only did not accomplish their purpose, but also
did much damage to American life.
The orthodox Christian reaction was very different. A wide variety of
societies were created to minister to the new problems: Sabbath Schools for
immigrant children and Christian day schools as well were created; English
was taught to adults; missions were started; orphanages, relief societies,
Bible societies, societies to deal with various vices, these and hundreds
other organizations were established to deal with every kind of problem
arose. The future of America was shaped by this massive effort at Christian
reconstruction. The "native American" movement failed; the Christian
reconstruction was so extensive that it became the real government of
American society. . . . Alexis de Tocqueville, in commenting on the impact
of non-ecclesiastical, societal Christianity on America, noted that
in America was religious and that "there is no country in the whole world
which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of
than in America." (op cit., I:332)
The 'Native American' movements did much harm to American life.
They were noisy in their claims that they represented "real Americanism,"
but they were at best a neutralizing force to progress and Christianity.
At their worst, they were anti-Christian and un-American in the name
of Christ and America. By claiming to be the conservative force --
which they were not, for they had no appreciation for their puritan
-- they brought discredit on that heritage.
On the other hand, orthodox Christians, by their zeal to bring every man
under the renewing power of God, did more than anyone else to cope with the
central problems of American life. . . .
Chapter 5: Of the Use Which the Americans Make of Public Associations in Civil Life
Second Book: Influence of Democracy on the Feelings of the Americans
Democracy in America, Volume 2
The civil government under the Founding Fathers publicly and officially
ENCOURAGED these Christian "societies" -- they did not take the position of
contemporary church-state jurisprudence, which says that government
must never "endorse" or encourage Christian solutions to social problems
like illiteracy and immorality.
As the New Hampshire Constitution, Art 1, sec. 6, "Bill of Rights" said,
America was made great by Christian charity, and the Constitution did
not abolish or prohibit this.
As morality and piety rightly grounded on evangelical
principles will give the best and greatest security to
government and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest
obligations to due subjection; and as the knowledge of these
is most likely to be propagated through a society by the
institution of the public worship of the Deity and of public
instruction in morality and religion; therefore, to promote
these important purposes, the people of this State have
a right to empower, and do hereby fully empower, the
legislature to authorize, from time to time, the several towns,
parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies within this
State to make adequate provision at their own expense for
the support and maintenance of public Protestant teachers
of piety, religion, and
Secular Humanism has been imposed on America in an unconstitutional
manner, and charity has also been crippled.
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